The FTC had accused the drug maker of violating privacy policies it made to consumers to get them to subscribe to its e-mail service. Eli Lilly last year sent out an e-mail to 669 users of its antidepressant Prozac that included the e-mail addresses of others on the mailing list.
Eli Lilly settled
The light penalty in the case, in which personal medical information was compromised, had a top FTC official defending the agency's decision today.
Hard to seek fines
"I do think [the decision] sends a message," said J. Howard Beales III, director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. Mr. Beales said fines would have been difficult to seek for accidental violations.
Mr. Beales also said that the names of those on the list were never published, and he suggested that the impact of the violation wasn't great because only others on the list got the information and that all they received was e-mail addresses.
As part of the settlement, Eli Lilly, which has since dropped the e-mail service, has to designate people to coordinate privacy programs and conduct an annual review of its privacy measures.